U.S. to Remain Dependent on Russian Rocket Engines for Years Despite Billions Poured Into Domestic Alternatives

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is launched / Getty Images

 

Industry officials say military won’t move fully to American-built engines until at least 2024

The Pentagon will remain dependent on Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites into space through at least the mid-2020s, despite the U.S. government allocating billions of dollars to defense contractors to produce an American-made replacement.

The projection adds several years to initial targets laid out in 2014 by lawmakers and senior Air Force officials, who ordered the United States begin phasing out Russia’s RD-180 engines amid national security concerns spurred by the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. Continue reading

Billions for European Wars (II)

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – With billions in arms programs at the EU and national levels, the EU is seeking to become a globally operating military power. At its summit last week, the EU agreed not only to enhance cooperation among the member armed forces to facilitate their combat deployment – for example in Africa – but to also rapidly establish a “defense fund” planning to reallocate funds from civilian to military use. In a few years, Brussels will already be allocating €1.5 billion annually for both research and development of new military technology. The German government is also increasing its military spending and decided last week to allocate nearly ten billion euros for arms projects, including warships, tanker aircraft, satellites, and optimizing existing weaponry for current wars. In addition, billions are being earmarked for completely new projects. Lucrative for the arms industry, they include the Multi-role Combat Ship MKS 180, and a new fighter jet, capable of competing with the US F-35 and being integrated with guided missiles, drones and other weaponry.

Continue reading

Congress considering restart of F-22 program

Lockheed debuts C-130J variant for special operations forces

 

The House Armed Services Committee is currently reviewing a classified report it ordered last year on restarting production of the F-22 Raptor, according to a spokesperson for the committee.

“I can confirm that we received the report and are reviewing it,” HASC spokesman Barron Youngsmith told UPI, declining to comment further due to the classified nature of the review. Continue reading

US-Saudi arms mega deal looks to counter Iran

 

Washington has announced a bumper arms deal with Saudi Arabia, heralding the package as a major boost to long-standing security ties and a way to further isolate Iran.

Administration officials claim the agreement — worth $110 billion over the next decade — is the biggest single arms deal in American history, and it will see US defense firms flow everything from ships and tanks to the latest anti-missile systems to the kingdom.

The deal also reportedly includes the renewed sale of precision-guided munitions that had been blocked under president Barack Obama’s administration, for fear the Saudis would use them on civilian targets in Yemen, where Riyadh is prosecuting a war against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels. Continue reading

Building up nuclear deterrence best response to THAAD

Straight from the CCP mouthpiece, Global Times: A warning of a Chinese first nuclear strike against the United States of America.

They’re playing the victim card again after making many provocations, taking over the South China Sea and refusing to reign in their proxy against America, North Korea. They’re quite good at it, however, since people do believe they are the victim.

They’re using the THAAD deployment as an excuse and America is the scapegoat for their long wished-for ambitions of military superiority.

 

Some equipment for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, including launch vehicles, has been delivered to South Korea for deployment. Beijing has also started to impose sanctions on Seoul. However, the US is the initiator and the major promoter for the THAAD installation. How China should react to US strategic provocations is more crucial.

Economic sanctions against the US are unlikely. THAAD producer Lockheed Martin is the world’s most powerful weapons manufacturers, and is beyond China’s grasp. Given the US’ economic scale, economic sanctions against it will be strategically unfavorable to China. Continue reading

Wikileaks Releases Encrypted “Vault 7” Torrent, Will Unveil Password Tuesday 9am

Last month, following a series of seemingly random tweets by Wikileaks, we reported that starting on February 4th, each day Wikileaks began sending out a series of cryptic question Tweets teasing the world about “Vault 7”. The questions were framed in Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How format (but not in that order). Each came with an image “clue”.

Here they are in chronological order starting with the earliest. Continue reading

F-35 Program Delayed Again, Costing At Least $500 Million

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program has been delayed again and will cost at least $500 million more, according to correspondence between the Pentagon and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) revealed Tuesday afternoon that the Defense Department had confirmed the seven-month delay in the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase, or SDD. McCain has long been a harsh critic of the F-35 program for its delays and accompanying cost overruns, and President-elect Donald Trump has more recently took aim at Lockheed Martin’s development of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets for its “out of control” costs. Continue reading

Does China’s deep-sea tech upgrade point to submarine signals network under Pacific?

Analysts say PLA military chiefs might already be using their version of a network of sensors and communications technology deep under the sea to make contact with submarine commanders operating far from home. Photo: AFP

 

China has announced plans to upgrade a civilian network of ­sensors and communications technology deep in the Western Pacific that it says is used in scientific research.

But analysts said the PLA could already be using a military-grade version of the communications technology to contact submarines operating far from base.

Buoys anchored between 400 and 500 metres beneath the surface of the Western Pacific would be upgraded this year, state media quoted scientists involved in the project as saying. Continue reading

Pentagon: China Threatened to Bankrupt Defense Contractor

Not only is espionage in the form of technology theft a serious issue, but the Chinese have also been manufacturing microchips Americans use [i.e. Huewei smartphones — founded by a PLA engineer on behest of the CCP (See also HERE)]… and it’s not limited to the average American consumer, but the U.S. military as well.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping / AP

 

Incident involving jet fighter logistics highlights aggressive Chinese cyber espionage

A U.S. defense contractor was threatened with bankruptcy by Chinese hackers seeking jet fighter logistics secrets, according to the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

A report earlier this month by the Joint Staff’s J-2 intelligence directorate revealed that the American contractor, a company involved in classified defense work, was threatened by Chinese hackers, according to Pentagon officials familiar with the report.

The Chinese demanded access to the company’s intellectual property, and said unless the company secrets were provided, China would steal the data, reverse engineer it, and then sell it internationally in a bid to force the company into bankruptcy. Continue reading

US admiral announces F-22 deployment to Australia and warns of South China Sea confrontation

The United States will begin operating Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor multirole fighters from northern Australia in 2017, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, said in Sydney on 14 December. Continue reading

Israel expects to retain air dominance with arrival of F-35s

While the F-35 may be able to evade S-300 missile defense systems, it’s said not to be able to evade the S-400. There is also an S-500 in development (See also HERE, HERE and HERE) by Russia.

 

F-35 Lightning II Adir. / Lockheed Martin

 

Israel expects to have total air dominance in the Middle East for the next four decades with the arrival on Dec. 12 of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“The future is here,” Israeli Air Force (IAF) Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Tal Kalman said, adding that “the F-35 will allow the air force to do missions that its current aircraft are unable to do today. In quantity and quality, depth into enemy territory, in threat-filled areas, in the amount of missions, with less manpower.” Continue reading

U.S. Navy’s Newest Warship Has No Ammunition for Its Big Guns

https://i0.wp.com/s2.freebeacon.com/up/2016/11/stealth-1.jpg

USS Zumwalt docked in Baltimore, Oct. 2016 / AP

 

The U.S. Navy is slated to cancel the projectiles for the two big guns that outfit its newest and most advanced warship due to excessive costs that total an estimated $800,000 per round.

The Long Range Land-Attack Projectile, or LRLAP, is the only guided precision ammunition designed to be fired by the USS Zumwalt, a land-attack destroyer that was created to hold two 155 millimeter/62-caliber Advanced Gun Systems that could, according to defense contractor Lockheed Martin, “defeat targets in the urban canyons of coastal cities with minimal collateral damage,” Defense News reported. Continue reading

Canada’s Military–A Shameful Shadow of Its Once Glorious Past

Caption: Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan (iStock.com/OlegAlbinsky)

 

Canada’s military services can no longer defend the nation’s borders—much less its citizens. According to the new commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice Adm. Ron Lloyd, Canada’s last destroyer, hmcs Athabaskan, will be retired from service in the spring of 2017, leaving the nation to rely on its allies for defense for at least the next seven years. Over the previous decades, Athabaskan and other similar vessels provided the capabilities of command and control for both the Royal Canadian Navy and the area air defense. By next spring, the Navy will be left with only 12 frigates, 12 coast defense vessels and 4 submarines. Canada will need to rely on the United States for its area air defense.

Continue reading

F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat

The F-35’s cannon door causes the plane to pull to one side, reducing the accuracy of the gun. (Photo by http://www.jsf.mil)

 

Testing Report Contradicts Air Force Leadership’s Rosy Pronouncements

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

The Pentagon’s top testing office warns that the F-35 is in no way ready for combat since it is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.” (Emphasis added) As it stands now, the F-35 would need to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).” In several instances, the memo rated the F-35A less capable than the aircraft we already have. Continue reading

F-35 programme remains at risk at SDD conclusion, chief Pentagon test official warns

…and just a few weeks ago it was warned here that the F-35 program was touted as combat ready — out of rushed haste, not confidence.

 

Key Points

  • The Pentagon’s director of operational testing has warned that the F-35 programme is still at risk of failing to deliver its full combat capability at the conclusion of SDD
  • The USAF and the USMC have declared IOC with interim 3i combat software, while the USN has said that it will wait until 3F software is complete

Continue reading